Potter A to Z

Rowling sueing over a fan-made Potter encyclopedia.

Looks like a serious misstep on her part.

Rowling’s lawyers claim the Lexicon has no creative value and contributes nothing to the readers’ understanding of the Harry Potter series. Merely rearranging facts into an alphabetical order does not turn it into a secondary, scholarly reference work.

Au contraire. Arrangement is one of the five canons of rhetoric, recognizing that new meaning is created by applied order. Her lawyers are correct that a reference work offering no analysis is a tertiary, not a secondary source, but encyclopedias fall in the gray area between tertiary and secondary; any summary is the creation of new meaning, an observation that is easily confirmed by reading a poorly organized definition of a complex topic and comparing it to a well organized one. The widespread use of the online Potter Lexicon shows that it does offer meaning and utility not available elsewhere.

Rowling might as well sue the papers for publishing news about her and her books.

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